Ten straight losses for MK Lightning

Lightning vs Panthers | Pic: Tony Sargent
Lightning vs Panthers | Pic: Tony Sargent

Milton Keynes Lightning’s long suffering fans endured further disappointment at the weekend with another pair of defeats further sinking them into the mire at the bottom of the Elite League.

Lightning are now 17 points adrift of the second from bottom placed team, Coventry Blaze, who have three games in hand. And they are now one game away from the worst ever losing run by a senior Milton Keynes ice hockey team – Kings having been beaten 11 times in succession during their final season in the city in 2001-2002.

Lightning vs Panthers | Pic: Tony Sargent

Lightning vs Panthers | Pic: Tony Sargent

MK’s last win was on January 3 when Tim Wallace scored an overtime winner against Dundee Stars – their next opposition at Planet Ice on Saturday at 7pm.

On Sunday a battling third period was not enough to stop Lightning from falling to a 4-2 defeat against Glasgow Clan at Planet Ice – following on from a 2-1 loss at Nottingham Panthers the previous day.

Defenceman James Griffin, making his 200 appearance for Lightning, was switched to the forward line in the final 20 minutes of Sunday’s encounter in a bid to use his speed while Trevor Morbeck moved back to the blue line. However it made little difference with Clan sealing the victory when Gerard Hanson fired in on an empty net.

It took Lightning to ten straight defeats – the omens there from the start as it was not until the eighth minute that they managed a single shot on target – Radek Meidl firing in from the left side.

Lightning vs Glasgow | Pic: Tony Sargent

Lightning vs Glasgow | Pic: Tony Sargent

Clan dominated the first period possession and it was against the run of play therefore when Owen Griffiths broke up the right to feed Meidl to put MK ahead after 18mins 5secs

A five on three powerplay for Clan following quick penalties on Morbeck and Michael Fine for embellishment and tripping respectively proved to be the turning point. Former Lightning man Guillaume Doucet was swift to pounce when a shot came off netminder Patrick Killeen and he lifted the puck over the goalie for the equaliser on 26mins 12secs.

Less than a minute later Clan took the lead when a shot from the blue line was put in the net by Hanson at 27mins 3secs.

Clan edged further in front with 1min 10secs to go to the second buzzer, Brendan Connolly broke up the left and crossed for Doucet to inflict further damage on his former club.

Lightning vs Glasgow | Pic: Tony Sargent

Lightning vs Glasgow | Pic: Tony Sargent

Lightning tried to up the gas in the final period and eventually they earned their reward when Wallace set up Norris at the left post to narrow the gap to 3-2 on 47mins 7secs.

The game was decided after Killeen was replaced by the extra skater with 1min 12secs remaining – Hanson bagging his second goal on the empty net at 59mins 30secs.

At Nottingham the previous day the hosts made the most of a four on four spell with both sides having a player in the sin bin. Tim Billingsley set up Mark Hurtubise to beat Killeen to score at 1min 46secs.

The home side remained in front until 6mins 44secs into the middle session when Lightning put together a well worked move which saw Nelson Armstrong involved as Georgs Golovkovs fed Wallace for a shot from the left circle which eluded goalie Michael Garnett for the equaliser.

However the teams were not tied for long, thanks to Jon Rheault supplying Alex Guptil to put Panthers back in front after 36mins 26secs.

The visitors called a timeout with 1min 38secs remaining and withdrew Killeen for the extra skater but it was to no avail as Panthers held on for the win.